April 14, 2024

News Release: December 15, 2005

Good Night, and Good Luck Screenwriters George Clooney and Grant Heslov to Receive Paul Selvin Award at 2006 Writers Guild Awards

2006 Award Recipient

Actor/director/writer George Clooney and co-writer/producer Grant Heslov are slated to receive the Writers Guild of America, west's coveted Paul Selvin Award for their topical screenplay, Good Night, and Good Luck, for its portrayal of constitutional and civil rights, at the upcoming 2006 Writers Guild Awards held on February 4, 2006.

“This smoke-filled black and white film is a crystal clear and colorful validation of why news media must be free and independent from both political and corporate whim and intimidation. It is as relevant today as it was when the events themselves happened more than fifty years ago,” said WGAw President Patric M. Verrone.

Written by Clooney & Heslov, who also produced the film, and directed by and co-starring Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck delivers a penetrating exploration of the McCarthy Blacklist era that still resonates today. Set during the early days of broadcast journalism in 1950's America, the film chronicles the true-life war of words between iconic television anchorman Edward R. Murrow (David Strathhairn), Senator Joseph McCarthy, and the Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations. Driven to report the facts to enlighten the American public, Murrow and his gutsy CBS newsroom staff, headed by producer Fred Friendly (Clooney), manage to reveal the lies and political bullying tactics perpetrated by McCarthy during his notorious Communist witch-hunts. After the Senator accuses the anchor of being a communist himself, the brave CBS crew holds their ground, refusing to back down amidst a fear-inducing climate of defamation and reprisal.

A passionate, thought-provoking investigation of power, truth-telling, and civic responsibility, not to mention a briskly entertaining ethics primer that's still relevant in 2005, Clooney & Heslov's taut, finely detailed script shows just how difficult it can be to do the right thing, no matter what the circumstances. Yet, rather than a dry history lesson from the past, the film vibrates with political and cultural relevance today given the nation's increasingly divided current socio-political climate. By promoting the essential necessity of free speech in this nation and affording a riveting glimpse into a crucial chapter of 20th Century American history, Good Night, and Good Luck proves one of the most authentically patriotic films of the year.

Clooney & Heslov's acclaimed screenplay has already received the Golden Osella Award for Best Screenplay, as well as the Pasinetti Award for Best Film, at the 2005 Venice Film Festival and looks to garner several nods this award season.

Clooney is shaping up to be a force to be reckoned with behind, as well as in front of, the camera. While Good Night, and Good Luck is Clooney's screenwriting debut, it's his second film as a director, the first being 2002's Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, from a screenplay by Charlie Kaufman. As an actor, Clooney recently starred in such feature films as current-events thriller Syriana (which he also executive produced), Ocean's Twelve, Intolerable Cruelty, The Perfect Storm, O, Brother, Where Art Thou?, and Three Kings. As an executive producer, Clooney's film projects have included Far From Heaven, Welcome to Collinwood, and Insomnia.

In addition to roles in such films as Nobody's Perfect, The Scorpion King, and Enemy of the State, Heslov (who portrays famed TV producer Don Hewitt in Good Night, and Good Luck), also wrote and directed the short film, Waiting for Woody (1998). He also co-produced 2003's Intolerable Cruelty, among other projects.

The Paul Selvin Award goes to that WGA member whose script “best embodies the spirit of the constitutional and civil rights and liberties, which are indispensable to the survival of free writers everywhere, and to whose defense Paul Selvin committed his professional life.” Selvin served as counsel to the guild for 25 years. Previous recipients include Allison Cross, George Stevens Jr., Cynthia Whitcomb, Gary Ross, David E. Kelley, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, Eric Roth and Michael Mann, Tim Sexton, Jason Horwitch, and last year's honoree, Don Payne.